2018 Triennial Archive

Johnny Coleman

St. Mark’s Church
1319 East Blvd,
Cleveland, OH 44106
Wed–Sun: 11–5


Reflections From Here

Elders of Glenville

Reflections is composed as a rumination upon an extended listening process.   Over the last several months, I have been blessed to engage in dialogue with a number of Elders from within the Community of Glenville.  Our conversations have been organic, candid, and for me, inspirational.  I’ve asked two questions:  what are your memories of Glenville, and what are your aspirations for this community…? 

Here, a stone’s throw from the crossroads of 105 and Superior, we move along time worn paths within a community once known as the Gold Coast.  This gesture is one of looking back while looking forward.

Materials include the following:  Hand constructed seats inspired by the Grandfather Chairs of the Dan people (Cameroon, West Africa) built from reclaimed oak.   These seats are placed on either side of a pulpit set before recovered oak pews.  St. Mark’s stands as a majestic witness.

The voices of the Elders emerge from above the seats speaking directly to the richness, complexity, and challenges of this community.  Their spoken reflections exist as sentries beside the voice of Bonita Wagner Johnson singing the classic, “Move On Up A Little Higher”.



Artist Biography

Johnny Coleman has created sound installations for Arts institutions throughout the U.S. including the following: Fort Wayne Museum of Art, N’Namdi Contemporary Center for the Arts (Detroit), The Sculpture Center (Cleveland, OH.), MOCA Cleveland, Akron Museum of Art, SPACES Gallery (Cleveland), Museum of Contemporary Art (San Diego), Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, El Centro Cultural (San Diego, CA), Randolph Street (Chicago, Ill), California Center for the Arts (Escondido, CA), Hall Walls (Buffalo, NY), William King Museum of Art (Abington, VA), University of Northern Iowa, Wooster Art Museum (Wooster, OH), and David Zapf Gallery (San Diego, CA). Over the last twenty five years, he has worked collaboratively with a range of poets, musicians, dancers, and visual artists across the United States.   Additionally, he has performed on stage at BAM, Majestic Theater: Next Wave Festival ’96, and his work is included in the permanent collections of the following: Fort Wayne Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, The California Center for the Arts, N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, and extensive private collections.  

Johnny Coleman holds a joint appointment in the departments of Art and African American Studies at Oberlin College. Research interests include the African roots of the banjo, furniture design, and the maroon communities of the Great Dismal Swamp.